"Hey, Brian. What is this tides thing that has to do with church?"
"I'm asking clients about their financial situation, and they say part of it is giving tides to the church."
"Oh...tithe - they give tithe to the church." *snicker snicker snicker* "It's an offering - some churches say that 10% of one's earnings should go to the church. It's a racket."
No shit. It took me a minute to get this. I remember glancing up every once in awhile from my coloring books when I was little to see my grandma put money on the collection plate, but I have no idea if the woman was putting 10% of her limited salary into her crazy strict church. She was pretty devout, so it's possible.
And now, here I sit, over-educated with peoples' homes in my hands, and I don't even know what the hell tithe means. I wish I still didn't. I wish I didn't know that people I'm representing in foreclosure - usually on full disability or SSI because they've been laid off, and also usually elderly or strapped down with a herd of kids - are giving 10% of their earnings to their church. In turn, this means a portion of my tax money is going to something I don't support - organized religion. Now, you can make the argument that none of us support all government programs that receive tax benefits, etc, etc, etc...but I'm talking about a voluntary belief system here. Believe what you want, but you can't have my measly nickels because you believe it. I can see the benefit in the majority of most government programs - but then again, I'm a sensible Democrat [that's sarcasm, folks...mostly]. I cannot see the benefit in guilting people who can't afford their mortgage into shelling out dollars simply because "it's what you're supposed to do."
I've told these clients to rethink what they're doing - maybe giving their time and volunteer efforts to the church is a better plan right now. They agree with me that the idea makes sense, but I can see how ingrained this 10% thing is in them; I'm sure it's what their parents did and what they've always been told to do, so I doubt I'll change their minds.
I guess the only way to end this blog is with the Serenity Prayer.
Or some such shit.